1. Continuation of EB-1 Worldwide Backlog, Mainland China Moved Forward 1 Month; EB-2 Rest of the World (ROW) Continues to be “Current”, Mainland China Moved Forward 1.5 Months
The U.S. Department of State’s (DOS) most recently released Visa Bulletin for June 2020 shows a continuation of worldwide backlog for EB-1, and cutoff dates for issuance of an EB-1 immigrant visa for Mainland China born applicants moved forward 1 month to August 15, 2017.
On the other hand, the Visa Bulletin for June 2020 shows that EB-2 for Rest of the World (ROW) is “current”, and cutoff dates for issuance of an EB-2 immigrant visa for Mainland China born applicants have moved forward 1.5 months to November 15, 2015.
Apart from all employment-based cases and F2A Spouses and Minor Children of Green Card Holders, USCIS will accept Mainland China born adjustment of status applications for all other family-based cases based on the “Dates for Filing” charts.
The June 2020 Visa Bulletin can be found here.
2. USCIS Preparing to Resume Public Services on June 4, 2020
USCIS previously suspended all in-person services at its field offices, Application Support Centers (ASCs), and asylum offices to help slow the spread of COVID-19 beginning March 18, 2020. On May 27, 2020, USCIS announced that it is preparing to resume certain field offices and asylum offices’ non-emergency face-to-face services to the public on June 4, 2020. Application support centers will resume services later.
USCIS has enacted the following precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in reopened facilities:
Visitors may not enter a USCIS facility if they:
Have any symptoms of COVID-19;
Have been in close contact with anyone known or suspected to have COVID-19 in the last 14 days; or
Have been individually directed to self-quarantine or self-isolate by a health care provider or public health official within the last 14 days.
Applicants may not enter the facility more than 15 minutes prior to their appointment (30 minutes for naturalization ceremonies).
Hand sanitizer will be provided for visitors at entry points.
Visitors must wear facial coverings that cover both the mouth and nose when entering facilities.
Visitors should pay close attention to markings and physical barriers in the facility and ensure that they follow social distancing guidelines.
Visitors are encouraged to bring their own black or blue ink pens.
USCIS’ alert can be found here.
3. USCIS Resumes Premium Processing for Petitions
On May 29, 2020, USCIS announced that effective today (June 1, 2020), it will resume premium processing service for Forms I-129 and I-140 in phases in June. Details are as follows:
Effective June 1
All eligible Form I-140 petitions
Effective June 8
Pending and cap-exempt H-1B petitions, filed before June 8
All other pending and eligible Form I-129 petitions (non H-1B petitions), filed before June 8
Effective June 15
Cap-exempt Form I-129 petitions that are concurrently filed with Form I-907, filed on or after June 8
Effective June 22
All H-1B cap-subject petitions
All other eligible Form I-129 petitions
All dates are subject to change, and USCIS will announce such changes accordingly.
USCIS’ alert can be found here.
ALG SUCCESS STORIES
NIW Advanced Degree Petition Approved in 6 Months for Neuro-oncology Researcher
Dr. C is an outstanding Researcher in the field of neuro-oncology, especially in the immune-therapy treatment of adult and pediatric malignant glioma, who holds a Doctoral Degree in Medicine. Because of her research in, and contributions to, the field of neuro-oncology and immunology that has made significant real-world national impact, Dr. C is recognized as an expert neuro-oncology researcher. Given Dr. C’s outstanding research skills that will fundamentally benefit the furtherance of human knowledge by way of the discovery of new brain tumor treatments that will help improve the prognosis and diagnosis of brain tumors, ALG filed and obtained NIW approval for her as a person whose admission to permanent residence and employment in the U.S. will be in the national interest of the nation.
To demonstrate: 1) Dr. C’s proposed endeavor has both substantial merit and national importance; 2) Dr. C is well positioned to advance the proposed endeavor; and 3) on balance, it would be beneficial to the U.S. to waive Dr. C’s job offer and labor certification requirements, ALG submitted evidence of her original contributions as shown through her research projects and clinical trials that are making cutting-edge and novel research on adult and pediatric malignant glioma; her scholarly research article publications that have over 50 citations; invited memberships into selective neuro-oncology associations; and her appointment on the editorial board of an international neurosurgery journal.
Without a request for additional evidence, USCIS approved this NIW petition within 6 months. Note: Premium Processing is not available for NIW petitions.
OTHER ANNOUNCEMENTS & UPDATES
Suspension of Entry of Certain Students and Researchers from the People's Republic of China
On May 29, 2020, the President issued a Proclamation to block certain Chinese nationals associated with entities in China that implement or support China’s “military-civil fusion (MCF) strategy” from using F or J visas to enter the U.S.
Effective today (June 1, 2020) at 12:00 p.m. EST, and until terminated by the President, the U.S. will suspend the entry of graduate level and higher F and J visa holders from the PRC who have been funded by, studied at, been employed by or conducted research at or on behalf of any entity that supports the PRC’s MCF strategy.
The proclamation does not apply to:
F or J visa holders studying or researching in fields that do not contribute to China’s MCF strategy, as determined by DHS, DOS and DOJ;
Lawful permanent residents of the U.S.;
Spouses of U.S. permanent residents and citizens;
Members of the United States Armed Forces, and their spouses and children;
Any alien admitted pursuant to Section 11 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement;
Any alien whose entry would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives;
Any alien whose entry would be in the U.S. national interest; and
Any alien seeking asylum, refugee status, withholding of removal, or protection under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
The Secretary of State will also consider whether the visas of PRC nationals currently in the U.S. in F or J status, to which the proclamation would otherwise apply, should be revoked pursuant to INA section 221(i).
The Presidential Proclamation can be found here.
ALG is closely monitoring the implementation of this proclamation and will continue to keep you updated as more information becomes available.
In case of emergency, please do not hesitate to contact us!
[UPDATE] U.S. Travel Restrictions for Foreign Nationals
In an effort to control the spread of COVID-19, the United States has implemented travel restrictions on foreign nations as announced in several Presidential proclamations.
Foreign nationals who have been in one of these countries at any point the preceding 14 days before their scheduled arrival to the U.S. will not be allowed entry:
China; Presidential proclamation issued on January 31, 2020
Iran; Presidential proclamation issued on February 29, 2020
European Schengen Area (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland); Presidential proclamation issued on March 11, 2020
United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland); Presidential proclamation issued on March 14, 2020
Republic of Ireland; Presidential proclamation issued on March 14, 2020
Federative Republic of Brazil; Presidential proclamation issued on May 24, 2020
U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and their families are exempted from this restriction. If you are returning from one of these countries, you should stay home and monitor your health.
For more information about the novel coronavirus, please visit the CDC’s website. Please do not hesitate to contact ALG attorneys should you have any questions or concerns relating to these travel restrictions.
CBP Extends Temporary Closure of Trusted Traveler Program Enrollment Locations
CBP previously temporarily closed Trusted Traveler Program (TTP) enrollment centers to help slow the spread of COVID-19 beginning March 18, 2020. The temporary closure applies to all public access Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST enrollment locations. Global Entry mobile enrollment events are also paused until further notice. Despite these closures, CBP’s Enrollment on Arrival program continues to remain operational.
Already previously extended for an extra 30 days, this temporary closure was once again on May 26, 2020 extended until at least July 6, 2020.
In this announcement, CBP extended the period of time that TTP applicants remain active, where each applicant now has 485 days from the date of conditional approval to complete the enrollment process. Conditionally approved TTP applicants seeking an interview at an enrollment center will need to reschedule using the online scheduling tool after July 6, 2020.
In addition, CBP will extend for up to 18 months the TTP benefits of members who apply for renewal before their current membership expires.
DHS’ alert can be found here.
Measures on the US-Canada and US-Mexico Borders to Limit the Further Spread of Coronavirus
In order to limit the further spread of the coronavirus, on March 21, 2020, the U.S. reached agreements with both Canada and Mexico to limit all non-essential travel across borders. These joint initiatives were originally set to be in place for 30 days, subject to reevaluation and further extension in light of coronavirus pandemic developments. “Non-essential” travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature.
Already previously extended for an extra 30 days, these measures were once again on May 19, 2020 extended until June 22, 2020.
DHS’ alert can be found here.